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Men, Women, and Worthiness: The Experience of Shame and the Power of Being Enough

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We Are Enough: Engaging with the World from a Place of Worthiness Course objectives: Summarize the differences and similarities between the experience of shame for men and women • Define guilt vs. shame—why one is a useful force for growth, while the other keeps us small • Discuss the four elements of shame resilience—identifying our triggers, practicing critical awareness, We Are Enough: Engaging with the World from a Place of Worthiness Course objectives: Summarize the differences and similarities between the experience of shame for men and women • Define guilt vs. shame—why one is a useful force for growth, while the other keeps us small • Discuss the four elements of shame resilience—identifying our triggers, practicing critical awareness, sharing our story, and speaking honestly about shame • Discuss empathy as the primary antidote to shame What does it take to be secure in our sense of belonging and self-worth? We may hustle to attain this security through achievements, meeting expectations, or repeating affirmations to ourselves—but Dr. Brené Brown's research has shown there is ultimately one obstacle to our sense of worthiness. "Shame is the barrier," she teaches, "and building shame resilience is how we overcome it." With Men, Women, and Worthiness, Dr. Brown draws upon more than 12 years of investigation to reveal how we can disarm the influence of shame to cultivate a life of greater courage, joy, and love. In this rich and heartfelt examination of this pivotal element of happiness, she invites you to explore: The differences and similarities between the experience of shame for men and women • Guilt vs. shame—why one is a useful force for growth, while the other keeps us small • The four elements of shame resilience—identifying our triggers, practicing critical awareness, sharing our story, and speaking honestly about shame • Empathy as the primary antidote to shame "Whether you are a man, woman, or child, every one of us has the irreducible need for love and belonging," Dr. Brown teaches. "A sense of self-worth, unhindered by the inner voices of shame, allows us to meet that need." With the warmth, candor, and humor that has made her a celebrated speaker, Brené Brown offers a road map for navigating the emotions that hold us back-so we can cultivate a life of authenticity and connection.


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We Are Enough: Engaging with the World from a Place of Worthiness Course objectives: Summarize the differences and similarities between the experience of shame for men and women • Define guilt vs. shame—why one is a useful force for growth, while the other keeps us small • Discuss the four elements of shame resilience—identifying our triggers, practicing critical awareness, We Are Enough: Engaging with the World from a Place of Worthiness Course objectives: Summarize the differences and similarities between the experience of shame for men and women • Define guilt vs. shame—why one is a useful force for growth, while the other keeps us small • Discuss the four elements of shame resilience—identifying our triggers, practicing critical awareness, sharing our story, and speaking honestly about shame • Discuss empathy as the primary antidote to shame What does it take to be secure in our sense of belonging and self-worth? We may hustle to attain this security through achievements, meeting expectations, or repeating affirmations to ourselves—but Dr. Brené Brown's research has shown there is ultimately one obstacle to our sense of worthiness. "Shame is the barrier," she teaches, "and building shame resilience is how we overcome it." With Men, Women, and Worthiness, Dr. Brown draws upon more than 12 years of investigation to reveal how we can disarm the influence of shame to cultivate a life of greater courage, joy, and love. In this rich and heartfelt examination of this pivotal element of happiness, she invites you to explore: The differences and similarities between the experience of shame for men and women • Guilt vs. shame—why one is a useful force for growth, while the other keeps us small • The four elements of shame resilience—identifying our triggers, practicing critical awareness, sharing our story, and speaking honestly about shame • Empathy as the primary antidote to shame "Whether you are a man, woman, or child, every one of us has the irreducible need for love and belonging," Dr. Brown teaches. "A sense of self-worth, unhindered by the inner voices of shame, allows us to meet that need." With the warmth, candor, and humor that has made her a celebrated speaker, Brené Brown offers a road map for navigating the emotions that hold us back-so we can cultivate a life of authenticity and connection.

30 review for Men, Women, and Worthiness: The Experience of Shame and the Power of Being Enough

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carey Smith

    The audible book is highly recommended. Powerful motivating genuine. The story of how she started researching men gave me goosebumps. I am in recovery and we tend to think normies don't deal with the same issues I am wrong. Everyone has shame it might be different from one person to the next. I always called my shame the guilty mommy voice the moment you become a mother it starts to nag and harp that your never good enough. It is one of my shame gremlins. I also realized that the shame gremlin I The audible book is highly recommended. Powerful motivating genuine. The story of how she started researching men gave me goosebumps. I am in recovery and we tend to think normies don't deal with the same issues I am wrong. Everyone has shame it might be different from one person to the next. I always called my shame the guilty mommy voice the moment you become a mother it starts to nag and harp that your never good enough. It is one of my shame gremlins. I also realized that the shame gremlin I most often feed into is the one that keeps me in isolation and I now can name it and see it for what it really is. This was truly a gift advised by my therapist. If you have ever wondered why your reaction to certain things in your life do not match the person you want to be then listen to this book I advise anyone to listen to her if at all possible.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lenny Husen

    Great follow-up to The Gifts of Imperfection and perfect to listen to in the car. The whole thing is about 2 and a half hours. The main topic was Shame, Gender differences (which I found the most interesting) and Shame Resilience. The discussion about Men and Shame was new to me and fascinating. I felt deep empathy for what men have to go through and what expectations are placed on men by other men and women. This is excellent and worth listening to multiple times. Also, unlike my version of Great follow-up to The Gifts of Imperfection and perfect to listen to in the car. The whole thing is about 2 and a half hours. The main topic was Shame, Gender differences (which I found the most interesting) and Shame Resilience. The discussion about Men and Shame was new to me and fascinating. I felt deep empathy for what men have to go through and what expectations are placed on men by other men and women. This is excellent and worth listening to multiple times. Also, unlike my version of "Gifts", this one was read by the author and she is a wonderful speaker/reader.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    This audio book has been integral in my ability to wean off anti-depressants and really allow myself to experience shame and all the uncomfortable emotions that come along with it. I'm not saying that everyone on antidepressants takes them to mask uncomfortable emotions, but I was. Never feeling like I was good enough at being a wife, a mom, a worker, a house cleaner, etc. is just a symptom of shame of womanhood. I am teaching myself to recognize my shame triggers and realize that I am enough. This audio book has been integral in my ability to wean off anti-depressants and really allow myself to experience shame and all the uncomfortable emotions that come along with it. I'm not saying that everyone on antidepressants takes them to mask uncomfortable emotions, but I was. Never feeling like I was good enough at being a wife, a mom, a worker, a house cleaner, etc. is just a symptom of shame of womanhood. I am teaching myself to recognize my shame triggers and realize that I am enough. Just the way I am. Her candid way of explaining shame for men and women had also allowed me more compassion and empathy for my husband. I literally have felt more joy in the last two weeks since my knowledge of shame and empathy have increased. She touches on the basis of human relationships and I will be forever grateful for what I have learned.

  4. 4 out of 5

    David

    One of the best things I've read. Deeply impacted by this book. I learned so much about the experience of shame and am so grateful for her take on male shame.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Karith Amel

    Short, but excellent. Brene Brown is an energetic speaker - clearly passionate about her subject - so this "reads" better than her other audiobooks, narrated by random readers. Her discussion of gender expectations, and their role in the way shame impacts us as humans, was both effective and non-essentializing, which I very much appreciated. I struggle, fairly intensely, when psychologists (or anyone) talk about the experiences of men and women as though that were simply the way it is - the Short, but excellent. Brene Brown is an energetic speaker - clearly passionate about her subject - so this "reads" better than her other audiobooks, narrated by random readers. Her discussion of gender expectations, and their role in the way shame impacts us as humans, was both effective and non-essentializing, which I very much appreciated. I struggle, fairly intensely, when psychologists (or anyone) talk about the experiences of men and women as though that were simply the way it is - the innate truth of what it means to be a man or a woman in the world. OF COURSE gender expectations impact our sense of worthiness as human beings - and, as such, our actions, emotions, etc. - but that does not make those expectations valid. Does not mean they reflect some essential truth about our identities as women or as men. Moving forward means recognizing the expectations placed upon us, but ultimately refusing to be limited by them.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tinkalanashai

    Ms Brown is a good story teller and very much a straight talker. This book exposes shame that hides inside all of us just waiting to rear its ugly head when circumstances deem fit and as She explains we must talk about it in order to be free of it. The more we hide it, deny it, the bigger the monster grows. Still wrapping my head around this one. I used to be ashamed of being alive. That was like a life time ago and there was never a reason. I was independent, I asked a lot of questions and Ms Brown is a good story teller and very much a straight talker. This book exposes shame that hides inside all of us just waiting to rear its ugly head when circumstances deem fit and as She explains we must talk about it in order to be free of it. The more we hide it, deny it, the bigger the monster grows. Still wrapping my head around this one. I used to be ashamed of being alive. That was like a life time ago and there was never a reason. I was independent, I asked a lot of questions and didn't really follow the crowd but I still lacked a strong sense of self. Maybe it was my upbringing, maybe religious or societal scrutiny & bias. Whatever the criticism or whoever the judge, I believed the lies and felt shame for not being perfect to anyone. Certainly I am more loving and accepting of myself than I ever was pre-40's but this book still got under my skin and helped me realize that the conversations exposing shame are really important to keep having throughout the rest of my life to bring more freedom, acceptance, vulnerability and depth of relationships.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shannan

    This is more of a "speech" rather than audiobook, but dang does she pack a punch in such little time! Brene is so unbelievably at ease with her talks, and she interweaves personal anecdotes, research data, and psychology theory together into one package. Her expertise is shame research and I gravitated to her thoughts on shame vs. guilt. Highly highly recommend if you need a good solid look on your own shame and guilt complex and are looking to move forward in shame resiliency.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Gave me much to think about. It's more of a lecture/talk than a book, and it's Brown who delivers it. I kind of want to listen again to pick up on the things I might have missed while I ruminated over other things. I'd recommend this to anyone who is interested in feminist thought that challenges our restrictive definitions of manhood and how those definitions hurt both men and women.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    I've found that there's a lot of content that overlaps in Brené's books/talks/programs, but there seem to always be gems that stick out with each one that I experience. What resonated with me during this talk was about how to empathize with somebody. There are many other things that she delves into more in depth here than in her other works, so it's a good follow-up to those.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Katelyn

    I LOVED this audiobook. Highly recommended for everyone. I am learning a lot about who I want to be and how I want to treat others from Brene's research and her personal examples of how this looks in her life. This is a life changing book for me. Here are my notes: Some of them are quotes from Brene or close to quotes, as I use the voice to text feature on my phone sometimes to capture ideas. Perfection doesn't exist and the pursuit of it is exhausting and moves us away from being ourselves. In our I LOVED this audiobook. Highly recommended for everyone. I am learning a lot about who I want to be and how I want to treat others from Brene's research and her personal examples of how this looks in her life. This is a life changing book for me. Here are my notes: Some of them are quotes from Brene or close to quotes, as I use the voice to text feature on my phone sometimes to capture ideas. Perfection doesn't exist and the pursuit of it is exhausting and moves us away from being ourselves. In our society, men/boys are shamed if they display or feel fear. We expect them to project confidence and we are disgusted when they are vulnerable. The biggest barrier to belonging is fitting in and belonging is essential to our well being because it was originally essential for survival. We need to belong. Practicing love is more critical to our relationships than professing it. True belonging only happens when you present your authentic self to the world instead of making yourself fit in. Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging. In a relationship you can't expect your husband to empathize with your vulnerability while expecting him to stay on his white horse and not show any vulnerability. For a healthy relationship you need to sit with your husband and let him be vulnerable. Don't be the patriarchy expecting men not to be vulnerable. Masculinity is like a box that men and boys are shoved into. It's a box of learned behaviors that society expects from them and it's extremely limiting. They aren't allowed to be themselves. Belonging is essential to us and shame prevents us from feeling worthy and feeling like we belong. The fear that we don't belong or will do something wrong is shame. The reason this is essential is because we are emotionally, cognitively, biologically, for many of us spiritually, hardwired for connection. It's what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. Shame is the belief that we are unworthy of connection or the fear of disconnection. Love and belonging are irreducible needs of men women and children. Where there's not love and belonging there is suffering. In the way of belonging is shame. Guilt is a very powerful emotion. It's very useful. It's when you hold who you are or what you've done up against who you want to be. What makes shame grow exponentially is secrecy, silence and judgment. The greatest barriers to empathy are the need to make everything better and fear of saying the wrong thing. Empathy is how we stop shame. Telling someone I've been there too; I get you. When someone is going through something really tough like the death of a loved one there's nothing you can do to make it better. All you can do is be with them in that space. Empathy is perspective taking, becoming the learner not the teacher. Where are you, what are you in? It is crucial to wihthold judgment. Communicate what you think you're seeing and those emotions and let them know you're willing to feel and be with them. Four elements of shame resilience: 1. Recognizing shame and understanding our triggers. 2. Practicing critical awareness. 3. Reaching out. 4. Calling shame shame. Wholeheartedness is saying I am worthy of love and belonging .

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ken Macintosh

    After being turned on to her original TED Talk, I've read the latter two of Brene' Brown's books and am now working my way through her former works. I've read about shame avoidance being one of the strongest motivators in school, business, time management, etc. but never gave much thought to how shame (and worthiness) might be influencing my actions, relationships, well being, etc. which is what this book delves into. This book covers a lot of the same content as the Ted Talk, but in greater After being turned on to her original TED Talk, I've read the latter two of Brene' Brown's books and am now working my way through her former works. I've read about shame avoidance being one of the strongest motivators in school, business, time management, etc. but never gave much thought to how shame (and worthiness) might be influencing my actions, relationships, well being, etc. which is what this book delves into. This book covers a lot of the same content as the Ted Talk, but in greater detail so I highly recommend it as well as all of Brene's Brown's books.

  12. 5 out of 5

    C.interruptus

    Useful insights on how concepts of shame play out differently for masculinity vs. femininity. Better organized than Brown's TED talk on vulnerability. I would have liked for her to pay more attention to different kinds of masculinities and femininities (gay and lesbian, eg, and cultural differences), but this is a good start. Maybe she talks about them in her longer books. I liked this enough that I'll check them out and find out.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    Oh Brene, how I love thee. I'm not a huge fan of "self help" books typically, but Brene Brown's no-nonsense, researched-based work is something I both respect and get a lot out of. This audio covers a lot of the same ground as 'The Power of Vulnerability,' but if you can't get enough of what this woman has to say, it serves as a great follow-up.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tahlia

    Here's the beauty of Brene Brown for me. Every time I listen to it or read it I'm moved to be better and more authentic and kind. I liked this talk because she narrated it. It's pretty much the same material as I Thought it was just me, but a good review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Monica Moyes

    Anything by Brene is a gem, in my opinion. Content is very similar to her other books and audiobook lessons but I tend to need the repetition. I always get something new out of it and it always inspires me. Definitely worth listening to.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    This woman gets it. Shame and guilt are two different things. Shame is about the person; guilt is about behavior. The key to silencing shame is to speak it, acknowledge it. I have a long way to go but this talk is eye opening if you want to live free.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Charissa

    I enjoy listening to this author. She is very grounded and I love her "story" based research. Some of what she talks about in this book can also be found in her more comprehensive book, "The Power of Vulnerability", which I believe to be much more informative.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    Extraordinary. Insightful. Helpful. I recommend it to anyone who wants to confront shame in their life.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Oliva

    Very insightful book. I think all perfectionists need to read this book. Instant improvement in my marriage!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mary Geralyn

    Amazing. An eye-opener for men and women.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Krista Knigge

    I really enjoy Brene's work. Very real and honest discussion on how men and women confront shame.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Bushnell

    This was a very quick listen (2 hrs), but once again, Brene Brown impacts greatly on the truth of "being enough". I highly recommend this teaching for anyone at all. Very insightful.

  23. 4 out of 5

    stormin

    I've been writing really long review for Brene Brown books, and I'm going to try and keep this one short. There's a lot I like, including her basic shame/guilt distinction. There's a lot I don't like, including her naive (in my view) response to the complexities of gender roles and the entitlement-based view of human value. Here's the definition of whole-heartedness, kind of her most important / crowning concept: And I think whole-heartedness, which is ultimately what I'm after in this life and what I've been writing really long review for Brene Brown books, and I'm going to try and keep this one short. There's a lot I like, including her basic shame/guilt distinction. There's a lot I don't like, including her naive (in my view) response to the complexities of gender roles and the entitlement-based view of human value. Here's the definition of whole-heartedness, kind of her most important / crowning concept: And I think whole-heartedness, which is ultimately what I'm after in this life and what I think my work is about, is not just a way of practicing but a way of being. I'll close with this definition of whole-heartedness for you. Whole heartedness is about engaging with the world from a place of worthiness. It's about waking up in the morning and saying "Yes, I'm imperfect. Yes, I make huge mistakes. But it doesn't matter what mistakes I make and how much I get done and how much is left undone. I'm worthy of love and belonging." And it's going to bed at night and thinking, "Yeah, I screwed that up," and "Yeah, I was really afraid today, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm also brave and worthy of love and belonging." It really, really rubs me the wrong way to say that love and belonging are things that we're "worthy" of, because it maintains the fundamental idea that there's a question of earning value. And I don't like that idea. All human lives, in my view, are intrinsically valuable. And I think Brown basically means the same thing, but the whole "I deserve this" tone really, really gets under my skin. I also really dislike the overuse of words like "brave". Had a friend on FB post not long ago about going to a gym and seeing some sign about how brave it was for people to show up there, and he was like (more or less) "Bravery is running into a burning building to save someone. Bravery is not going to a gym in the suburbs to get your cardio in for the day." A-freaking-men. We've all got problems and and struggles and tragedies in our lives, but I feel like people need a serious dose of perspective on what does and doesn't constitute bravery, especially because all the conversation about victimhood, bravery, privilege, etc. is driven almost exclusively by people with elite backgrounds at top universities and no debilitating struggles in their life. This is almost definitional. If you didn't go to an elite school and if you don't have freedom from debilitating struggles in your life then you don't have the kind of platform that draws mass attention. So we've basically got a class of pretty coddled elites running around explicating how life is a struggle, and from that it's no wonder that we get over-use of terms like "brave" where they really have no business being deployed.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Leanne

    Of course it is excellent. It is Brene Freaking Brown.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Maddox

    Dear Brene'. As wonderful as what you had to say was, please stop the shaming. There's nothing wrong with being white, straight, male, having Judeo-Christian beliefs, or modesty. Thank you, Auntie

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jm Besaw

    really good stuff I learned a lot about why I do what I do

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    great quote: men react to shame either by getting pissed or shutting down. So true. I think there were a few spots where she over-generalized about "male" culture. She painted an interesting picture of rabid men clinging to the baseball backstop screaming to their little-leaguers to hit the ball and saying "cry on the bat, see if that helps". She interviewed dozens of men to do her work and I'm sure individuals had stories of feeling bad about sports, but (I hope) even in Texas, where the author great quote: men react to shame either by getting pissed or shutting down. So true. I think there were a few spots where she over-generalized about "male" culture. She painted an interesting picture of rabid men clinging to the baseball backstop screaming to their little-leaguers to hit the ball and saying "cry on the bat, see if that helps". She interviewed dozens of men to do her work and I'm sure individuals had stories of feeling bad about sports, but (I hope) even in Texas, where the author is from, that image is outrageous. other great theme: Women want men to "open up" but when they really do, women run away screaming (another over-generalization?), so men learn to pretend to be open, knowing there is an entire rich world of screaming anger, shame and mass-shootiness that they must never, ever reveal.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amber Koppenhofer

    I wonder if I would have enjoyed this more if I had listened to it before listening to Brown's "The Power of Vulnerability" seminar, but unfortunately I found this to be a truncated version of the aforementioned recording. She covers all the basics of "The Power of Vulnerability" in this one, and repeats many of the same stories, but it lacks some of the humor and wit she has when speaking to a live audience. This much shorter workshop would be good for people wishing to review what was already I wonder if I would have enjoyed this more if I had listened to it before listening to Brown's "The Power of Vulnerability" seminar, but unfortunately I found this to be a truncated version of the aforementioned recording. She covers all the basics of "The Power of Vulnerability" in this one, and repeats many of the same stories, but it lacks some of the humor and wit she has when speaking to a live audience. This much shorter workshop would be good for people wishing to review what was already covered in "The Power of Vulnerability" or someone who just wants to hear the bullets points about shame and vulnerability, but not worth listening to if you have recently listened to "The Power of Vulnerability," which may be four hours longer, but is far more entertaining. No matter, I love Brene and her work, this just was not my favorite.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marina

    (3.5 stars, really. 5 for insightfulness, less for going off topic) I thought this was great, like pretty much anything Brene Brown does. One caveat, though - I think she goes completely off topic in the second of the two sessions. In her work she usually talks about women and I was really interested in hearing more about her research on men and shame and worthiness, and while she says a number of insightful things about it in the first session, she pretty much seems to forget all about the (3.5 stars, really. 5 for insightfulness, less for going off topic) I thought this was great, like pretty much anything Brene Brown does. One caveat, though - I think she goes completely off topic in the second of the two sessions. In her work she usually talks about women and I was really interested in hearing more about her research on men and shame and worthiness, and while she says a number of insightful things about it in the first session, she pretty much seems to forget all about the whole men/women business in the second session and just talks about worthiness and vulnerability and shame etc etc. in general. Insightful, interesting stuff, as usual, but ... I felt a bit cheated. I hope she writes more about men in the future.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Maggiacomo

    I liked how Brene explains that we should phrase in our my "I did a stupid thing" rather than "I am stupid, I'm such an idiot" Focus on the behavior not that I am ... I never thought of the word shame the way she defines it. I don't like the would shame, it's such a negative sounding word to me. I never thought I had a problem with shame but apparently we all do. I like that at the end she says we don't have to get caught up with the separate definitions of shame, guilt, humiliation, etc. I I liked how Brene explains that we should phrase in our my "I did a stupid thing" rather than "I am stupid, I'm such an idiot" Focus on the behavior not that I am ... I never thought of the word shame the way she defines it. I don't like the would shame, it's such a negative sounding word to me. I never thought I had a problem with shame but apparently we all do. I like that at the end she says we don't have to get caught up with the separate definitions of shame, guilt, humiliation, etc. I personally think of what she's describing as something else (negative self talk) I do think she gives good insight and all can benefit from her research. Now if only our husbands would read/listen to her.

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